Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Love Letter to Libby after Valentine's Day

My Sweet Little Libby,

Each of my children has taught me something about Love and being a mother. Anne taught me what it meant to truly love someone. Jamie taught me what it was to have fun as a parent and enjoy my time with my kids. And you, Libby, have taught me to treasure my moments. My time being your mom did not start out easy. After you were born, I held you for just a few seconds. Enough to see that 1. you were perfect-you were not defected in any way and 2. that you needed medical attention. Even in those first moments after birth you were spitting up bubbles of bile. The doctors took you away and about an hour later I saw you in your incubator-a tube down your throat and monitors all over your chest. I saw you a little after that as you were bundled up in your own little transportation system, ready to be driven to Children's Memorial Hospital. After that, I didn't see you for nearly 24 hours. Daddy and I discussed it that even though I had given birth to you and seen you and had the high from having you, we both felt strangely distant from you-almost as if we didn't even have a baby. That's not surprising considering Nature intends for us to hold our babies and cuddle them and not let them go right after they are born in order to bond with them and I wasn't able to do any of that.

Later, you spent 7 very long weeks in the NICU. Longer than anticipated-almost double the average for babies that have your condition. I cried nearly every day and near the end, I truly felt if you didn't come home soon I would die. My heart hurt so physically bad that I thought I would die if I didn't have you in my arms and home soon. Thank God that He allowed you to come home with us only 3 days later.

The first few days home I was, disappointingly, distant from you emotionally. I think my guard was up. I waited so long to have you and then I did, I didn't know what to do with that. I was also pretty scared that you might stop breathing or have a heart rate drop or even need to be re-hospitalized. The first 2 or 3 months you were home, I loved you so very much but I was also very cautious. You spit up a lot. You were (and are) so tiny. I was worried if you were eating enough and pooping and peeing enough.

But then you hit 3 months past your due date and turned into a real baby. Since then, and of course before then too, I have loved every second with you. I think I have been drunk on my love for you. I'm sure to someone who doesn't know me and our family they might think that I love you more than I love the other 2 kids. Of course I don't, I'm just so grateful to have you here with us that it intoxicates me and colors everything else in my life.

You are such a sweet girl. That one word explains your entire personality. You are just so very sweet. You love to be held. Nearly all the time you are crying, I can just pick you up and instantly you are soothed. You could have been screamed for 10 minutes, so worked up, and the second I pick you up you stop and are calmed. You love to nurse. What a blessing that is! You love your brother and sister. You are starting to try and show us that you love us. You grab for my face a lot and open mouth slobber on me. I'm sure you are just exploring and sucking but you don't do it to strangers, so I know you're letting me know you love me.

I am so lucky to have you. Now that you are here and I love you so much, I can say with certainty that every moment away from you in the NICU was worth it-because I got YOU. I would relive that a hundred times just to get YOU in the end. You are worth it. I love you Libby, I don't know why God decided to bless me so richly with you but I am so glad and grateful He did. You are an amazing baby. I wish I could keep you this way forever, but I also look forward to seeing what sort of amazing person you will become.

I love you fiercely and passionately forever,


Carolyn said...

April, I love reading your entries. I feel as though we're sitting together & having coffee, discussing our kids, our love for them, and of course (at times) our frustrations. Keep up the great work, you are a superb mama!

Atwood-Family of FIVE said...

Thank you Carolyn! You are so sweet!